This is the story of how my parents split me in two, and how I ultimately put myself back together…
On the eve of Marin’s birthday, her parents tell her they’re getting divorced—or, in a parallel universe, they don’t tell her anything at all. This defining moment, along with Marin’s subsequent choices, turn her into polar ends of herself and drastically affect the relationships she has with her two best friends, her mom, and soccer player Sam Hanson. The possibilities of ‘what could have been’ play out in alternating scenarios throughout the book.
If Marin can’t make it into Wash U and get away from her suffocating mother, she just might self-implode. She’s determined that nothing will stop her, but then she can’t seem to say no to what everyone else wants—or yes to Sam, seeing as her best friend Hannah wants him too.
Things that this Marin puts up with—a narcissistic mother and a buoyant yet selfish best friend—the other never would. But then, the other can’t stop fighting long enough to get who or what she wants. Instead, she marks a path through life that nearly alienates her best friend Whitney and the boy from work she won’t let herself be distracted by, because distractions like Sam Hanson won’t get her into dance school and away from her mom.
One moment may have changed the trajectory of her future, but if Marin can’t find her way back to herself, she’ll not only lose the boy and her best friends, but also the future she’s worked so hard for.
IN ONE LIFE AND OUT ANOTHER will appeal to fans of E.Lockhart, Brenna Yovanoff, and Kristin Dwyer, as well as readers who enjoyed the SLIDING DOOR premise of MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid or THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig.
Told in alternating chapters, this story asks if the person changes the life, or if the life changes the person.
My Review This concept reminds me of the movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow. Her life is vastly different depending on whether or not she catches her train. ONE LIFE AND OUT ANOTHER explores how Marin’s life plays out based on her parents’ decision to divorce or stay together. In one life, her parents are still together, though unhappy as ever, but her friendships with her two BFFs, Whitney and Hannah, are fractured. In one life, she’s still friends with Whit and in another Hannah. In both lives, she’s hopelessly in love with Sam Hanson but can’t have him, though for different reasons.
What the author does really well is show how the choices parents make have very significant impacts on their children, impacts that can alter the course of their lives. And that staying together “for the sake of the children” might not always be the best choice, though divorce is no picnic either. The story is raw, the characters fully developed, and the choices that Marin needs to make, both due to and in spite of her parents, alter everyone’s lives, not just hers. The story is emotionally charged without being over done. Marin’s angst is palpable without being annoying as she navigates her journey into young adulthood with or without the support of her parents and friends.
Plot There are three main plots running through the story as well as some subplots. I can’t really pick a main plot because all three are given similar weight and are equally important to Marin’s life. The first is getting into her dream school, the second is her relationship with Sam, and the third is her friendships with Whit and Hannah. There are also good subplots around her dancing as well as her relationships with both of her parents that are intertwined so thickly in the main plots that they can’t really be extracted without derailing the entire story. The author weaves them all together seamlessly, making us care about all of the characters, but especially Marin.
Characters The characters are all fully fleshed out! No one is a cardboard cutout, not even Ernie, owner of the ice cream parlor! Marin, Whit, Sam, Hannah, and Marin’s mom are deep characters, with rich backstories and understandable motivations that drive their actions. Marin’s dad spends a lot less time on the page, so I didn’t get as much of a feel for him, but he’s not a stereotype either. The growth that all the characters experience is believable and necessary to the characters that J. Mercer has crafted for them.
What I Loved About IN ONE LIFE AND OUT ANOTHER 1. The Concept. I love a good “what if” premise. It’s one of my favorites, especially when taken to extremes. The author does a masterful job of executing on this premise.
2. Sam. Sam is the dream guy. He’s patient, funny, understanding, but still vulnerable without being a pushover.
3. Marin. Her home life is a wreck, but she doesn’t let it destroy her, too. She has plans for her future and won’t let anyone or anything get in her way.
4. Family Drama. I don’t actually love family drama, but it’s a reality for so many families and seeing it portrayed so honestly with being overly done made the story that much richer.
5. Dance. As the mother of a dancer, I really enjoyed these aspects of the story.
Bottom Line A wonderfully executed alternate choices tale with fully-developed characters.
About The Author J Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to UW Madison for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband—though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases.
For updates and news, you can find her on Facebook, but she’s more often on Instagram, talking about what she’s reading and other bookish things. Go there for book recommendations, reading-inspired writing tips, or even to read along. If you prefer everything delivered directly to your inbox, click here to get on the email list.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE KEEPER, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Royals and Legends, by Lynn Montagano. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE KEEPER (Royals and Legends Series #1) by Lynn Montagano
It started in the English countryside when he stopped to see if I was having car trouble.
It should have ended there.
But it turned into three of the most intense days of my life. And guess what? It didn’t end there either.
His name is Xavier Maddox. Sexy, talented, athletic. A British soccer star. The enticing bad boy.
He should be off limits for me.
My name is Victoria Chase. Ambitious, successful, broken. I’m the media relations director for the most successful football team in the United States. I have this policy about getting involved with athletes…or as I call them, the product.
Xavier was only supposed to be a one night stand. A distraction for me while I dealt with a long ignored family situation.
But he had other plans…
If he finds out what I’ve done, what I’ve destroyed, he’ll leave. Broken people like me don’t deserve a happy ending.
Excerpt #1 “Victoria,” a sultry, baritone voice revealed my name.
I stilled. Its tone washed over me, quickening my pulse. Taking a deep breath, I glanced to my left. Getting caught up in Xavier’s heated blue stare was not something I thought would happen tonight, or ever again for that matter.
Dressed in gray pants and a white button down shirt, he stood with his arms crossed. The sleeves were rolled up to expose his defined forearms. And more tattoos, just like he’d hinted at. He was motionless except for the subtle way his ring-clad thumb stroked his lower lip.
He didn’t wear a tie and the shirt remained unbuttoned at the top, but my assumption that he’d look hot in a suit, or some variation of it, was correct. I finished the rest of my bourbon in one swallow and put the empty glass down.
“Nice to see you again,” Xavier said with a sly grin.
“Alright, wait a bleeding second,” Cade interjected. “How do you—” His eyes widened. “This is the one from the pub, isn’t it? The one that got you all hot and bothered.”
Bennet draped his arm over Cade’s shoulders. “How about you and me go downstairs for a drink.” Without waiting for a reply, Bennet guided him to the stairs, where they disappeared down into the crowd.
“You seemed pretty involved in your conversation with those two.” He lifted an eyebrow. “Did I miss anything good?”
“Not as good as what just walked into the room.” The words tumbled out before I could stop them. Hitting on him wasn’t an option.
Or maybe it was.
Yep. It definitely was.
I’d blame it on the bourbon but that was a lame ass cop-out. He was hot and I felt more than a little frisky.
“I see.” He slid his hands into his pockets and before I knew it, stood inches away from me.
He smelled so good. Not of cologne or body spray or any of the manufactured crap some men seem to think they need. Just soap, shampoo and him. His scent reminded me of the outdoors. Fresh and earthy, like vetiver.
“Shouldn’t you be doing the rounds with your friends?” I asked.
“Are you a soccer player too?”
“Soccer,” he mimicked with a grin. “Yes. I play football.”
I bit my lip to stifle a laugh at his correction.
He leaned toward me, invading my personal space the way a five star general crosses enemy lines, with precision and a healthy serving of arrogance. I was essentially caged between him and the railing.
It took quite a bit of effort not to slide my fingers up his chest and unbutton the rest this shirt. Or tear it open and watch all the buttons scatter.
“Did you come here with someone tonight?” he asked.
“Like a date?”
“Yes, like a date.”
“Lucky me.” A mischievous smile pulled at his lips. “Guess that means we’re on a date now. Or at least picking up where our last date left off.”
“Hardly. I’m not so sure you’re my type.”
“I’m everyone’s type.”
“I’m not everyone.”
Author Lynn Montagano
About the Author Lynn Montagano is a contemporary romance author, writing coach, podcaster and unapologetic football fan. When Lynn isn’t writing or recording her weekly podcast, you can find her cheering loudly for her beloved New England Patriots or traveling somewhere new in this great big world.
Welcome to the book blitz for PITY DATE, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Pity, by USA Today bestselling author Whitney Dineen. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Faith I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out.
In all my twenty-nine years, life has never been smooth sailing when a man was involved. Astor Hill was everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner—handsome, successful, and interested in me. Until he started cheating. The cherry on the sundae is finding out the truth less than two weeks before we’re supposed to stand up for our best friends at their wedding.
When a staggeringly good-looking and kind stranger comes to town and offers to take me to the wedding, I jump at his proposal. Who cares if he’s gay? Astor doesn’t need to know that.
Teddy She thinks I’m gay?!
I’m taking a vacation from Hollywood and going back to Elk Lake. My grandfather hasn’t been doing well after Gram died and he needs my support. Luckily, I’m between blockbuster movies so I can make the time.
My first stop is Rosemary’s Bakery for one of the gingersnaps I remember so fondly from my childhood. The only problem is that the girl at the counter has eaten them all. After spilling my tea on me, she bursts into tears and tells me her troubles. I should be annoyed but I’m oddly charmed.
I know what it’s like to be dumped by a cheater, so I do the only thing I can think of: I offer to take her to the wedding to make her ex jealous. Unfortunately, with the help of the tabloids, things quickly spiral out of control…
Faith It’s Saturday, which means I’m supposed to be in Chicago. Instead, I’m sitting in my house crying. My eyes are nearly swollen shut as a result, making me look like a prize fighter who’s gone around the ring five too many times. Note to self: The post-boxing-match look does not look good on you …
I’m tempted to go into the bakery and tell GG the news about Astor. GG is Rosemary’s abbreviation for Gorgeous Grandma, which she insists on being called by her grandchildren. The only problem is there’s no going back once I tell her. And part of me is still holding out hope that Astor might come crawling back to me.
Obviously, I’d make him grovel and beg for forgiveness. He’d have to swear that Tiffany drugged him and took advantage of him. There would, of course, need to be regular flower deliveries, and he’d have to start coming to Elk Lake instead of me schlepping to Chicago. But if all that happens, maybe, just maybe, we aren’t through.
That would not be the case if GG knew what had gone down. She’d bring the cheating up every time she saw Astor, and he would never be able to get out from under her suspicions. Not that he would deserve to. The truth is, I might secretly want him to beg me to take him back just so I can make the rest of his life a living hell. Although, I’m not quite ready to admit to that. I’d like to think my intentions are pure, and we could live a beautiful life together.
I pick up my phone to call him, but quickly have second thoughts. There’s no way I can talk to him right now without spectacularly losing it. Which would negate my plan to make him jealous at Anna’s wedding.
After turning my phone off, I pull my tennis shoes out of the hall closet so I can get my food shopping done for the week. I normally go on Mondays after getting back from Chicago, but now that I’m not leaving town, I need some staples.
I start to feel a little bit better on the way to the market. That is until I flip on the radio and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” comes on. Astor sang that to me the night he told me he loved me for the first time. It was a cringingly bad performance, but who cares? When the man of your dreams is declaring his love, there aren’t enough flat notes in the world to mess that up.
I park in the back of the lot, hoping a longer walk will snap me out of my current malaise. It helps a little as I’m not a complete basket case when I walk in. Grabbing a cart, I start my regular path through produce before hitting the cereal aisle and beyond. I grab a few apples, a couple of bananas, and a bag of greens before stopping dead in front of the dragon fruit display. I gasp before bursting into another uncontrollable sob fest. Astor told me we should plan a trip to Costa Rica so I could eat freshly picked dragon fruit. He claims the stuff we get tastes nothing like it should.
Picking up one of the hot pink fruits, I hold it to my nose. There will be no trip to Costa Rica now. Astor will probably take Tiffany, and they’ll stroll hand in hand on the beach while eating their body weight in exotic fruit. Hopefully it has the same effect on them as prunes. That would certainly ruin all chances of romance.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Can you tell me if you have any ripe avocados in stock?” The voice is too close for the man not to be talking to me.
As I turn around, I demand, “Why would I know about avocados?” I’m staring right at Teddy.
“Oh, hey, Faith. How are you?” Before I can lie and tell him I’m fine, he says, “I thought you worked here. You know …”—he motions toward my outfit—“you’re wearing the same thing the employees are.”
Is it any wonder Astor cheated on me? I look down and confirm that yes, I am wearing khaki pants and a light green shirt. I have no fashion sense whatsoever. I open my mouth to tell Teddy he should forget his ridiculous plan to help me make Astor jealous. There’s clearly no way that can ever happen. But as my lips part, no words come out. Instead, I hiccup loudly.
“Oh, Faith, no.” Teddy steps away from his cart and puts his arms around me. “I was hoping you might be feeling a little better.”
“This is better.” I rub my nose against his shoulder hoping not to leave a snot trail. It feels so nice to be held in someone’s arms. I hope he never lets me go.
Author Whitney Dineen
About the Author Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Welcome to the book blitz for STARSEER, the first book in the young adult LGBTQ fantasy series, Starseer, by Katya Hernández. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Fifteen-year-old Etar can see the future in the stars—a rare skill even among magicians. But while other Starseers before him have become the stuff of legend, Etar has never predicted anything more exciting than the weather. Orphaned at age five and living under his uncle’s disapproving gaze, he yearns to prove his worth.
Disaster strikes when, in defiance of his uncle’s orders, Etar breaks into the Starseeing Dome—an ancient structure built to potentiate the powers of Starseers. Aided by the Dome, the stars send Etar a vision of ironclad warships destroying Skalland, the tiny island he calls home.
Hunted by a bloodthirsty admiral who seeks to enslave his newly awakened powers, Etar will have to fight to protect his friends while grappling with his past, his out-of-control magic, and a budding friendship turning into something more.
Excerpt #2 Hundreds of times in the ten years he’d lived under his uncle’s care, Etar had gone out to the lighthouse at night to try his magic. But this forbidden room had always been in the back of his mind, tickling his curiosity, making him wonder what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of all the great Starseers named in his book.
But in coming here, a truth both painful and mind-boggling revealed itself. He had grown up believing it was he who lacked power when in fact, it was the setting that was all wrong.
Standing in the middle of the starmirror—as his book called the pool at the center of every starseeing chamber—he was stripped so completely of his reality that he wasn’t sure anymore what flesh was. He tried to scream, an impossible feat without lungs, and everything around him became darkness poked through with starlight. No beginning. No end.
He fell upwards, and as he shot through the endless night, he noticed with alarming lucidity that he was being pulled into a disc of burning red light. A star, surely, but he had never seen one up this close. He’d never noticed the torrents of fire whirling and exploding on their surfaces.
The star soon eclipsed his view, and a high-pitched sound pierced maddeningly through his core. There were words in there. He could distantly recognize the cadences of spoken language, but to his understanding, it was all terrifying gibberish. He recoiled from the turbulent sea of red light. He knew the message the star was trying to convey was important, but Etar didn’t want to hear its discombobulating yammering anymore.
As the star pulled him in with unfathomable force, he tried to scream again, and this time his breathless efforts shattered the trap of his subconscious like a crystal wall. He was in the Dome again, a fact he only registered because water sloshed around his feet, and Jossan’s voice was coming from somewhere near his face.
“… wake. Please, wake up!”
Etar shook all over. He couldn’t draw enough breath to speak. But most concerning of all, he couldn’t see. The ghost of the star dominated his visual field. He dug the heels of his hands desperately into his eye sockets and screamed when the light persisted behind his tightly shut lids.
“Etar, please, tell me what’s wrong,” Jossan said, holding Etar’s shoulders firmly between her hands.
It took several minutes for him to recover some composure. Every time he’d gone up among the stars, he returned with a pleasant sensation of having just woken from a good night’s sleep. Now, he couldn’t stop crying, he was blind, and his head felt like someone was trying to rip it open with a cleaver. “I can’t see,” he whispered, his voice breaking. His body faltered.
“Fuck,” Jossan said under her breath, her voice shrill. “Hang in there.” She hauled him up over her shoulder and started going somewhere. Etar could guess the rise and fall of the stairs, but after they hit the hallway, it was impossible to know where they were. All he could hear was Jossan’s frantic, whimpering breath and some of her men asking her questions she clearly couldn’t answer.
And slowly, as they moved along the castle hallways, Etar’s consciousness slipped out of his grasp.
Auithor Katya Hernández
About the Author Katya is a writer, illustrator, and graphic designer who lives with her partner, two cats, and two dogs in sunny El Salvador.
Her cats are her harshest critics, but she loves them all the same.
When she’s not writing or drawing the fantasy worlds that live in her head, she’s cosplaying as the creepiest monsters from all her favorite horror movies.
Welcome to the blog tour for UNDERTAKING LOVE, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Last Chance Responders, by Megan Montgomery. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
UNDERTAKING LOVE (Last Responders Romance Series #2) by Megan Montgomery
Synopsis Bethany West upgraded her lucrative career as a sex worker for her dream job as a death worker when she partnered at Smythe & Co. Mortuary. She expected her eco-friendly innovations and death positive attitude to blow the roof off the Victorian-era relic. But that was seven months ago, and during that time, she’s only managed to piss off her embittered business partner, George Smythe, a man dead set on maintaining the status quo and driving Bethany out of his namesake business.
When the pair reluctantly travel together to a mortuary conference in New Orleans—and compete in dueling embalming demonstrations—George finally recognizes the value of Bethany’s business model for the first time. He’s also starting to recognize a growing attraction to his blonde bombshell business partner. Meanwhile, Bethany learns the truth behind George’s cold contempt, and it’s much worse than she thought, stemming not from a single incident, but from the constant on-call status, the compassion fatigue, and the overwhelming stress of the job.
Bethany has 4 days to crack open his tough outer shell to reveal the compassionate man she knows is inside, and she has a plan, but unless George learns to open his heart and lean on her, at the risk of succumbing to their cremation-level attraction in a dangerous way, he’ll jeopardize both the business and their hearts by refusing the true partnership they both need.
Bethany I’d never been so turned on to hear my own name. My own church mouse-y name sounded wicked the way it shot off his tongue.
He said my name like it had already been in his mouth. Like he’d been playing with it, flipping it over frontways and back like a hard candy, waiting for the right time to pull it out.
“Sorry,” I said, pulling myself together enough to look sorry rather than fall to my knees at his feet. “I said I wouldn’t talk about work.”
His eyes stayed on me, lingering. His lips parted as he looked at my eyes, then down to my neck before blinking, forbidding himself to look any lower. His self-control was intoxicating.
When he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbed. Reaching up, he loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, which was objectively the hottest thing a man could do besides rolling up the sleeves of his starched button-down. He’d already assaulted my willpower with that show a few minutes ago.
Finally, he took a sip of his drink. I thought he was going to let it languish on the table until the condensation dripped down his glass, leaving more puddle than ice, but he downed it in two big gulps.
The song changed and so did his expression. Again. I’d been watching him this whole time, studying the way he subtly nodded in approval when the song morphed from chaotic dissonance into a melody he recognized. I loved those moments, when the entire audience was in synch with the music and with one another.
I loved this music, but quickly realized I wasn’t nearly as well versed in jazz as George. He seemed to know every song except the pop covers. His eyelids drifted closed at certain times, when he was fully immersed in the music, the interpretation, maybe even the vibe of the room. I shuddered from the thrill of watching him enjoy himself.
But this song I knew. I knew it from our funeral music. It was on my favorite playlist to run when guests were arriving or during slideshows. Every song was meaningful and special. In no way trite or saccharine. I had no idea he’d put that playlist together until now.
That look of pleasure, of satisfaction on his face was . . . gorgeous on him. I didn’t know what the song meant to him. I didn’t even know the name, but from the look on his face now, it must have some special significance.
I stood and held my hand out to him.
Take my hand, George.
His eyes opened. He drowsily looked at me before looking around the room. I had brought him back down to earth. I didn’t know who this George was, but I wanted him down to the cellular level. The chemical level. Every molecule in my body cried out for him.
“Dance with me?”
He said nothing, but looked uncomfortable again, because I brought that out in him. I wasn’t having it tonight, though.
“No one else is dancing,” he said as if I couldn’t see that for myself.
“We play by our own rules.” I dared him to take my hand.
He let his head drop and I thought that would be the end of it. I’d have to find some other way to stand a little bit closer to him. To hold him. To connect.
But for the second time tonight, he shocked me to my core. He stood, taking a step gingerly toward me. He grasped my proffered hand and held it tightly in his own, moving it closer to his body. His other hand inched behind me, finally, finger by finger, settling at the small of my back.
I could hardly breathe. It didn’t even matter that we had the attention of the band and the audience. For what felt like an eternity, we commanded the room but not even George seemed to care. Bar service had all but ceased. Nothing mattered but his hand on my waist. His hand wrapped around mine. His eyes looking down at me. Mine looking up into his.
My confidence had taken a vacation. I had nothing more to babble about. I didn’t remember how to move. My plan to break George was wrecked. In this moment, he had broken me.
We were too close. We weren’t ready for this yet. Why had I asked him to dance? Did I really think I was Teflon enough to dance with him then brush it off like it was any other flirtation?
About the Author Megan Montgomery writes romance. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re morbid, but all her characters have cool jobs. She and her husband, Johnathon Olavarria co-host Forced Proximity podcast, a weekly romance book and movie club.
Her debut novel, Well . . . THAT Was Awkward was inspired by her homesickness for southern Maryland. She now lives halfway across the US on the prairie with her husband, son, and mom.
When she’s not writing, reading, lifting weights, or cooking dinners her son won’t eat, you’ll find her toiling in the garden or brewing potions from her medicinal herbs.
Welcome to the book blitz for LEGENDS OF ASH AND DUST, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Fearless Saga, by Kate Cowan. See below for information on the book , buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
LEGENDS OF ASH AND DUST (Fearless Saga #1) by Kate Cowan
Synopsis They forged her into a weapon. Now, she is the last.
Aerona was raised by legends. Her people, the Shae, are the closest thing this realm has to the supernatural: they train their entire lives to protect, forging their bodies like steel. They are the stories told to children in the night, the monsters who lurk in the woods. Or, they were — until the massive Red Wolf army attacked, slaughtering them all in a single night.
Now, Aerona is the last, and it doesn’t help that she is the only female Shae in history. Besides the revenge she has sworn to get, she has one final mission: to protect Niran, a handsome prince with secrets of his own.
In Niran’s home, the Palace of the Golden City, nothing is as it seems. Aerona’s enemies are lurking around every corner, the Emperor is blackmailing her into becoming his assassin, and an ex-Shae librarian is convinced that she has a long-forgotten Shae magic hidden on her skin.
Caught between two worlds, Aerona must kill, spy and betray… even if it means unlocking the magic this world has long been starved of…
Excerpt #3 “What is it?” I demanded. “What’s happening? Kentric, I saw fire—“
“We’re being attacked,” Kentric said. Shouts and bangs and running footfalls filled the air, filtering in through the dark window.
“What?” I started for the door, but he pulled me back to face him. “We have to go, we have to fight—“
“There are too many, Aerona. Far too many.”
“Too many? We’re Warriors.”
“Fifty of us have already been slain in the Sanctuary,” Kentric said quickly. “More at the outposts and farmhouses. There are hundreds of them, Aerona, an army. We cannot win.”
“No,” I breathed. The world had been opening before my eyes that morning: now, it felt as if it closed in from every angle, crushing me.
Taking a step back, I looked to the glowing window, listened to the screams in the distance.
“We can fight them! Drive them off,” I was pleading, tears in my eyes, but there was ice in Kentric’s gaze.
He had stopped listening. From around his neck, he pulled something on a thin black cord out of his robes. It was small and silver, glinting in the faint light from the window. The symbol of the Shae—all of the Masters wore one, a hand-forged silver pendant. A mountain overlaid with two crossed swords, surrounded by a circle of four dragons. He pushed it into my hands.
“No. I can’t,” I took a step back, looking shakily down at the heavy, cold pendant.
“There’s no time for this. Listen to me carefully,” he took my shoulders, standing so close I could feel his breath on my face. “The prince is your responsibility now. He’s in the barns, Malik told him to meet you there. Take horses and get off the Shae mountain. Get far, don’t stop moving, and don’t use the gates to get past River’s Edge. Go through the river itself. Don’t come back here, don’t try to fight them. You are Shae. You are one of us. Never forget that. We will fight them as long as we can. Stay off the main roads and away from anyone until you reach Dothor.”
I tried to suppress the tears welling up in my eyes, clenching my jaw and my fists, but my heart broke as Kentric wrapped me in a fierce hug. He was old, but like an ancient willow, he was supple and strong.
“Now go, Aero,” he whispered in my ear. “Go!”
I knew I would regret it, Gods, I knew I would—but I did as Kentric told me.
Author Kate Cowan
About the Author Hi, I’m Kate Cowan. I’m an author, writer, painter, and illustrator. When I’m not writing or creating art, I love to take my three insane dogs out for hikes and explore the beautiful Niagara region of Canada, where I live. My passion is in telling stories that move people and capture their imaginations. I also strive to create art that is full of life and beauty. I love creating pretty things, both written and painted. I’m also a martial arts instructor, 3rd-degree black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate, and lover of badass characters (which I’m sure you can tell from my books!!)
Welcome to the blog tour for VIOLINS AND VAMPIRES, the first book in the adult paranormal romance series, Vampires of the Daemonverse, by Cee Bee. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
VIOLINS AND VAMPIRES (Vampires of the Daemonvers Series #1) by Cee Bee
Synopsis Lexa Kozlov must pay her family’s massive debt to the mob… all while raising even more money to save her little sister. The result? Lexa’s trapped in a never-ending (and incredibly illegal) stakeout for the Bratva. She barely has time for sleep, let alone find love.
Enter Caelin Vass, the handsome Scotsman who runs Empire Investments. Caelin offers Lexa a new job with dollars galore, as well as a hot bod (that would be his own) to contemplate every workday. Even so, Lexa isn’t sure she should take the gig. Freaky things keep happening whenever Lexa and Caelin are together. Simply put, the energy between them is magical, sensual, and way overwhelming. Lexa faces a big question: is she leaving her old prison just to enter a worse one… or is Caelin Vass all he seems and more?
***12,000 word novella, previously published on Kindle Vella as Blood Slave***
Vampires of the Daemonverse Series
1. Violins and Vampires
2. Veils and Vampires
3. Vixens and Vampires
4. Valor and Vampires
Excerpt #3 Lexa
I explore the bedroom. The place looks untouched. Someone even made the bed. The curtain is pulled aside, revealing the wall safe.
Which is closed.
Over the years, I’ve gotten good at guessing safe combinations from a distance. I’m pretty sure I know how to open this one. It takes a few tries, but I’m able to unlock the door.
Sweat beads on my forehead as I pull the safe open.
When I last saw Vice open this thing, it was crammed with gold bars. My body trembles with surprise.
This time, the walk-in safe is empty.
I step inside the safe itself. It’s been cleaned out. The picture that was stuck to the inside of the safe door is gone as well. A flash of white catches my eye. A scrap of paper sits on the floor. Leaning over, I scoop up the small document.
It’s a picture of me.
The pic shows me in Big Apple Coffee, sitting at my fave seat by the window. My heart sinks.
Vice knows who I am. I’m exposed.
I’ve been so careful to be the secret earner for Konstantin’s organization. What a disaster. My head feels wobbly on my shoulders. I shuffle back into the bedroom.
And things get worse.
Someone sneaks up behind me. The next thing I know, I’m pressed against the nearest stretch of wall. An electric charge of fear runs through my nervous system.
It’s happened. I’ve been discovered. Someone’s out to hurt Konstantin. Who is it? Italians? Irish?
I do surveillance, I don’t battle thugs. At this point, I should dissolve into tears. Instead, something inside me awakens. An ancient power streams through my veins. Rage overtakes my mind.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
“It’s my building, lass.”
That voice is low, rumbling, and haunting my dreams. My anger instantly turns into something else. I know who this is.
“Caelin,” I whisper.
When he next speaks, Caelin’s warm breaths fans over my bare neck. “Aye.”
Lights flash before utter darkness surrounds us. Any reflection from the streetlights vanishes. Magic is at work. My breath catches.
A moment ago, the bedroom blinds were closed. Somehow they’ve now opened. Moonlight shines into the room. Cool tendrils of mist twist across the floor and around our bodies. I’m still pressed against the wall.
Only now, I’m naked.
So is Caelin.
Somehow, my vision from before has come to life.
I can’t see the man, but I feel the hard planes of his chest and thighs against my back. My legs now stand more than shoulder-length apart. I sense Caelin’s length pressing outside my entrance, all velvet skin over steely muscle. His rough breaths sound in my ear, making my insides twist with want.
Caelin slides his warm palm down my arm. Everywhere he touches, there’s a trail of want. How can this be happening again?
Not sure I care anymore.
Author Cee Bee
About the Author Author Christina “CEE BEE” Bauer has sold more than 1M copies across her 45+ epic fantasy books for young adults. She’s recorded (and narrated) eight of her books into audiobooks, as well as led the translation of her novels into four different languages. USA Today has called her work “must-read paranormal fantasy.” Bauer is an autism advocate and quirky loudmouth whose writing style really isn’t for everyone. But if you like stories with complex worlds inhabited by chicks who kick ass and take names, then read on!
Christina lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby. She loves to connect with her fans at ChristinaBauerAuthor.com.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates
Welcome to the book blitz for I USED TO BE FUN, a standalone adult contemporary/women’s fiction novel, by Melanie Summers. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
“Insightful, entertaining, and satisfying. A deliciously dishy look at a typical American family behind closed doors.” ~ USA Today Bestseller Whitney Dineen
“A life-affirming emotional rollercoaster. Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette!” ~ USA Today Bestseller Kate O’KeeffeA richly satisfying family dramedy for any woman who has asked, “Whose life is this?”
Jessica Holloway is miserable. As mom to two ungrateful, almost-grown children and wife to one appreciative-but-needy husband, she has all-but-abandoned the extraordinary—and extraordinarily fun—woman she used to be.
She may be smiling while she volunteers at the school’s dog wash fundraiser, but inside, she’s seething. Having traded her future as a high-powered attorney for motherhood nearly two decades ago, she’s now desperate to reconnect with the woman she once was.
Pushed to her breaking point, Jessica is secretly terrified at what she might do.
Go on strike permanently?
Take the dog and run away to Mexico?
Tell her mother-in-law what she really thinks of her?
Whatever it is, it’s going to be a disaster. Because this time, Jessica will stop at nothing to get her power back – no matter the cost.
Excerpt #1 She was bored. No, not bored. How can someone so busy be bored? It was more like disconnected—slightly separated from everything and everyone around her. She didn’t see the point of any of it, which seemed ridiculous because on paper, Jess had it all. A healthy, mostly-happy family, a part-time job she didn’t mind going to, financial security, good friends. It was enough that she felt guilty wanting anything more. But that didn’t change the fact that she did want more. She wanted to live. Some other life. One that amazed her or, more accurately, one in which she was amazing. Before she was Jessica Halloway, she was Jessica Saunders. And Jessica Saunders was supposed to be extraordinary. She was going to do something important in this world, like run a Fortune 500 company or be a high-powered attorney. She’d be out in the world making her mark and people would say, ‘There goes Jessica Saunders. Look at her. So determined and talented, not to mention dressed to kill.’ Jessica Saunders had actually settled on going to law school, and had even scored in the top five percent in the country on her LSAT. But then she got married and she and Mike decided he should focus on his career first, since he already had his degree and only needed to sit for the exams to get his Chartered Professional Accountant designation. But then Winnie came along, followed by Noah, and pretty soon, she’d forgotten all about picking up her studies where she’d left off.
That had happened so long ago, she completely forgot that she used to be thrilled by it all. Jess Saunders was one of those enthusiastic, take-life-by-the-horns sort of girls. The life of the party. She’d dance all night, she’d laugh all day. She was witty. Smart. Great at banter. People were drawn to her. She loved everything. Impromptu trip to Mexico? I’ll grab my passport. Sex? Yes, please. Plenty of it. Mountain mud pie with caramel sauce for dessert? Hand me a fork.
Jess missed her. She really, really frigging missed her. She knew that impressive young woman was buried somewhere inside her. She must be there, right? So, where was she?
Author Melanie Summers
About the Author Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally – then she’ll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she’s not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something–more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE STAINED SEA, the first book in the new adult fantasy series, Omen, by Paul Carver Williams. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
THE STAINED SEA (Omen Series #1) by Paul Carver Williams
Synopsis In the wake of a lost messiah, an oppressed religious sect known as the ‘singers of Oros’ are targeted by those in power. A lone singer calling himself Runo works tirelessly to revive the faith of his people by any means necessary, involving a hunt for a witness who could expose his darker actions/
Meanwhile, a young slave named Cai is called on by a philosopher to aid in a catalogue of the wealthiest families in Grecuria, starting with the owner of the library where he works. On his journey he must confront a past that isn’t his own.
Lastly, sailing on a sky ship surrounded by merchants, Mele Amahki was given passage to begin a new life. However, everything changes when they find themselves in a new, unexpected world. Mele is thrust into power, unsure of what is best for her crew.
Knowledge, religion, power, and blood run through the veins of the Grecurian islands, but through these three headstrong individuals, the veins will be cut and darkness will stain the sea.
Excerpt #3 “Something has already happened to Akamai. And what— we’re to trust this, this Lili Mele in his place?”
Mele bristled, but tempered herself with a glance to Akamai, finding his eyes staring dead into hers. To her surprise, he tapped his lips. A gesture on a list he wrote. It meant she was allowed to speak freely. Mele burst from her seat and pressed her hands into the table. “Lili Mele? I am not the one who sold myself to the council of nobles in exchange for a good word with the emperor. Don’t fool yourself, Lili Takaahae, this is not the world we used to live in, and I am the most valuable asset you sniveling council of cowards has. What choice is there but to wait for now? Min needs the energy when he returns. I’d imagine tracing the edge of the land has drained his stores far lower than any of ours. Now I’m begging to return to our plans for when the search parties return. My brain has been decaying with every syllable that exits your mouth.”
Author Paul Carver Williams
About the Author An LGBTQ, Black-Latino young adult, Paul Williams has struggled with his identity, eventually leading to mental illness. However, with support from his siblings, he gained new confidence to express his inner emotions through art and writing. At age seventeen, he published his first book. He is now working endlessly to carve a place for himself among the creative professionals and pave the way for other talented ‘students’ of art and literature.
Welcome to the book blitz for ONCE UPON A LEGEND, a standalone young adult fantasy romance, by Mary Ting. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
A story of love and a power that echoes through time.
A prophecy foretold by the Council.
A sword forged by the Ladies of the Lake.
A child born from love and the hope of thousands.
Seventeen-year-old Idrisa is a student from Dumont Orphan School. When the Emperor of Dumonia invites all citizens to a birthday gala for Prince Merrick, she attends and becomes entangled in a world beyond belief.
At the party, Idrisa begins to hear strange voices that urge her to go to the lake. A student from school follows and tries to kill her, but in the fight for her survival, Idrisa gains possession of an eternal sword—gifted by the Ladies of the Lake.
The Emperor demands it, but only Idrisa can wield the sword, so he imprisons her. Her only hope is Prince Merrick, but he is grieving the death of his mother and doesn’t care about anything happening around him.
While held captive, Idrisa uncovers secrets that challenge everything she thought she knew about Dumonia. Enemies and allies emerge when they hear news of the sword, and she must unlock the mystery of the weapon before darkness descends on the empire forever.
Excerpt #2 “They are all children of the Blood Plague.” The Council’s voices seemed shocked, almost afraid.
“It’s not possible,” Thalia shrieked, folding her arms to her chest.
But it was possible if Mariam and Delphi had lied to us. About fifty of us in my year had been brought to the school as babies. They could have lied and told us we were two when we’d really been three. Delphi would know, but she was gone.
“You can ask the other scholars. They can explain,” I shouted my random thoughts. “Lady Mariam, our director, she’s coming the …”
Had I said too much? But where was Mariam? Had the other scholars not informed her about us missing from the school? And if they had, did she not care?
The emperor twirled his ring on his finger, looking into the distance. Hopefully he heard my words and was contemplating mercy.
The emperor sighed. “What shall we do, Sister? We can’t afford to have this happen again. Not after all we have done.”
A soft, diabolical purr escaped from Ravana as she walked away from the golden circle. Her eyes darkened and pulsated like a thunderstorm ready to burst. The room went dead silent as we awaited her verdict.
“Kill every single one of them,” Ravana hissed. “The scholars. The little brats. And burn the school down. I don’t want any survivors. Not even an insect.”
“No,” I yelled.
My friends’ wails joined mine.
All those children, students, and scholars. My home, the only home I’d ever known. The emperor wouldn’t, would he? When he smirked, I had my answer. I had to do something. This was my fault. The goddesses’ fault. Help us, I prayed.
Why go through the trouble of giving me the sword when I didn’t know how to use its power? Despair and rage controlled me. The air warmed and the tingling sensation in my hand burned hotter, until I was holding unadulterated power, however impossible it seemed. Wind whooshed through the room, strong enough to ruffle hair and clothes.
I closed my fists when orange light burst from my palms like a birth of the first pure light. On the ground, Caliburn began to rattle. Anticipation choked off my breath. Everyone stared and backed away. Then the blade flared with lustrous silver and soared into my hands like a bird flying home.
Author Mary Ting
About the Author Born in Seoul, Korea, author Mary Ting is an international bestselling, multi-gold award winning author. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise. She is a diverse voice who writes diverse characters, often dealing with a catastrophic world.
Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.
Welcome to the book blitz for CASTELON, the third book in the young adult fantasy series, The Wraithwood Trilogy, by Alyssa Roat. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CASTELON (The Wraithwood Trilogy #3) by Alyssa Roat
Fifteen hundred years of Arthurian legend come to a head in the final installment of The Wraithwood Trilogy.
The sword of legend, ancient magic, and a dead man’s secrets-together they could save Brinnie’s world or end it forever.
Brinnie barely escaped Mordizan with her life. Battered and broken in body and soul, she knows she’s running out of time. And though she has discovered the identity of Mordred’s bane, no one knows where to find the legendary weapon.
To discover the truth, she and Marcus must journey to Castelon and seek the aid of the Council. However, their actions at Mordizan brand them as enemies and war criminals. Between Mordred’s armies engaged in full-scale war and the political machinations of the Council, Brinnie struggles to balance the battlefield and the courtroom while estates fall before Mordred’s wrath.
As magic ravages her own body, threatening her survival, the allure of ancient, forbidden power grows brighter. And only one man holds the knowledge of the weapon that could destroy Mordred once and for all-a man they buried in the gardens of Wraithwood.
Excerpt #2 Nathan blazed a trail to a pair of carved wood doors and turned the brass handle on the left, pushing the door inward. “After you.”
She stepped inside, the smell of leather and old books wrapping around her. In the center of the room, an ostentatious solid wood desk shone in front of a massive hearth, over which hung a painted portrait of what appeared to be Scott Castelius and family, his children with their spouses and children. Shelves lined the walls, with free-standing bookcases making up a couple of rows on either side, most of the books beautifully bound, many accented with what appeared to be gold leaf.
She spun slowly. “These are beautiful, but they don’t strike me as books about dark magic.”
“Oh, these aren’t.” He strode past her, heading for the wide stone hearth behind the desk. He walked right in, ducking only slightly, turned to the right, and was gone.
Brinnie’s eyebrows shot up. She followed, peeking around the corner of the fireplace. Beyond the initial line of stones, a tunnel led back several feet.
They emerged from the tunnel into what felt more like an archive than the display library in front. Old books and scrolls were carefully labeled on well-organized shelves.
Nathan headed straight to the back of the room and gestured to one of the bookshelves that housed both scrolls and tomes. “These might help.”
She gathered her skirts to better navigate the narrow rows. She leaned toward the shelf he had suggested, squinting at the labels, all in the ancient language.
She took a deep breath and rubbed her eyes. If magic allowed her to speak and understand the language, it should help her read it as well.
She opened her eyes and squinted at the lettering. Mental translation felt unwieldy, like reading her high school Spanish books, but she could understand enough.
One word stood out—dywledrith. Dark magic.
“Thank you, Nathan. These should be quite helpful.”
The one type of magic even Mordred wouldn’t touch. Which meant he would be powerless against it.
About the Author Alyssa Roat has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as an agent, editor, writer, and publicist. She is the managing editor at Mountain Brook Fire. She has held positions as the publicity manager for publisher Mountain Brook Ink, an associate literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with hundreds of bylines in local, national, and international publications. She holds a B.S. in Professional Writing from Taylor University. She would love to connect on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well @alyssawrote.
Welcome to the book blitz for CAPTURED SECRETS, the first book in the adult contemporary western romance series, Seven Tine Ranch, by Carmen Peone. See below for information on the book, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CAPTURED SECRETS (Seven Tine Ranch Romance Series #1) by Carmen Peone
Synopsis “Brimming with suspense and adventure, Captured Secrets, is a love story I’ll not soon forget. An engrossing tale with all the twists and turns that make a contemporary Western so hard to put down.” Debra Whiting Alexander, award-winning author of Zetty
After her parents die in a horrific car accident, Sydney Moomaw is thrust into running their guest ranch in eastern Washington. She soon discovers that her parents were keeping secrets. Why is the ranch in serious debt? Why did her parents allow the insurance to lapse? Why didn’t they tell her about it? And where are their wills? Sydney needs to figure out a way to save the ranch she loves before her sister sells it.
Photographer Trey Hardy arrives at the ranch the same day Sydney’s parents are killed. His working-vacation plans change when he decides to help Sydney save her ranch. But, his offers to help are met with resistance. Her stubbornness and independence are both maddening and alluring.
Amid the tangle of finances, tensions with her sister, and her own grief and anger, Sydney begins receiving threatening notes. They must be from her abusive ex-husband, but he’s in jail. Isn’t he? When a teenager appears at the ranch insisting she is Sydney’s daughter, Sydney finally realizes she’s going to have to start trusting people to help her. Will Trey’s plan work? Can they save her beloved ranch? Can she really have the life she’s dreamed of?
Excerpt #3 Sydney found Trey resting under the shade of a ponderosa pine tree near the mare and foal pen. She rode one horse and led a second. “Wanna take a ride?” She leaned back and padded her bulging saddle bags. “I have a picnic.”
“Your talk with Glenda must have gone well.”
“Something like that.”
“Where we going?”
Trying to keep her composure, she said, “Somewhere special.”
Trey took the reins that were attached to a blue roan with the Seven Tine brand on its rump and mounted.
Shade and cool air from towering trees and valleys, wildflower’s Sweet aromas, streams trickling over rock beds surrounded them on the north pasture, and he became more enamored with the setting the longer they rode.
Sydney led him to a cool spot in a copse of aspen by a creek. She dismounted, then pulled out two sacks and a thermos from the worn saddlebags. After finding a nice patch of green grass, she arranged cheese, crackers, and apple slices on the bags and poured two tin cups of iced tea, handing him one of them.
“Trying to butter me up for something?” He winked at her, then took a drink.
“No.” Her face warmed as she gave him a sassy sideways glance. “Maybe a little.”
“This is one of my favorite spots. I come here to think.” She gestured to the food. “Dig in.”
Trey put a slice of cheese on a cracker. “I’d like to bring the stud colts here, a couple at a time, and take photos for the website.”
She looked around and pointed to a backdrop of aspen and rock bluffs. “Over there’d be a nice spot.”
“It sure would.” He ate the cracker and took a sip of tea. “Why did you bring me here?”
Oh. Why? She held her hands in her lap so he couldn’t see them shaking. “Um.” Do I tell him straight out, or should I ease him into it? “I thought you’d like this spot for taking pictures.”
He set his cup on the grass. “This isn’t about horses, is it?”
Of course it wasn’t. Here goes nothing. “I’ve considered your offer.”
Author Carmen Peone
About the Author Carmen Peone is an award-winning author who has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western-woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.
These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy.
Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/..
Welcome to the cover reveal for A JOURNEY TO POWER, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Defenders of the Realm, by Marie-Hélène Lebeault. See below for information on the book, buy links, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
A JOURNEY TO POWER (Defenders of the Realm Series #1) by Marie-Hélène Lebeault
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: A JOURNEY TO POWER Series: Defenders of the Realm Series #1 Author: Marie-Hélène Lebeault Publisher: Beaches and Trails Publishing Release Date: February 27, 2023 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT
Synopsis Human, Witch, or Dragon? The Silver Springs will decide!
Join Penelope, Wickham, Kaia, and Herja on their journey of self-discovery and adventure in a magical kingdom where teens are sent to the stream to find out their destiny. These four children, with diverse backgrounds and unique skills, embark on a journey filled with challenges, teamwork, and bravery to rescue the captured witches and dragons. With their combined abilities and quick thinking, they become heroes in their own right, saving the day and leaving a lasting impact on the kingdom. This is just the beginning of their journey as they look forward to starting the academy and becoming powerful protectors of the peace and safety of their beloved kingdom.
Get ready for an exciting adventure filled with magic, friendship, and courage in this coming-of-age tale.
Author Marie-Hélène Lebeault
About the Author Marie-Helene Lebeault lives in Quebec, Canada with her young adult children. A retired teacher, she now spends her days writing, translating academic manuals, and lending her voice to corporate training videos. She enjoys reading, hiking, cycling, traveling, and going to the beach.
To date, Marie-Hélène has published two YA Fantasy series, a standalone novel set in the Eastern Townships, a Short Story Anthology, and a series of whimsical Picture Books for children 3 to 7 years old.
Please follow me on Social Media, I’d love to hear from you!
Welcome to the book blitz for THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE, the fifth book in the adult contemporary romance/romantic comedy series, Bronson Billionaire Romance, by Tina Gabor. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE (Bronson Billionaire Romance Series #5) by Tina Gabor
About the Book – FREE for a limited time!
Title: THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE Series: Bronson Billionaire Romance Series #5 Author: Tina Gabor Publisher: Sparks Fly Romance Release Date: February 28, 2023 Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance / Romantic Comedy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT
Synopsis Tyler Bronson’s hot dating app eMingle just went public, but despite his success at finding matches for other people he’s still single.
His on and off relationship with his unstable ex has finally stayed off that is until he finds out he has a son.
Now, he’s not just a new billionaire. He’s a new single dad. And he has no time for love until …
Tyler She took a step to steady herself and tripped on my foot. I grabbed her before she fell onto the coffee table.
“Whoops!” I said. “Are you okay?”
I had my arms around her to keep her from falling, her shoulder leaned against my chest. She turned toward me and looked up. Her long eyelashes blinking.
“Nice catch,” she said, her voice a sexy whisper. The feeling of one of her tits pushed against me along with that voice and that look made my cock stir.
This girl was effortlessly sexy.
She put her hands on my arms to regain her footing and giggled. “So big. And hard,” she said, running her hands on my biceps.
She was drunk, but damn. This girl was killing me.
“Let’s check out that view,” she said, tottering over to the sliding glass doors.
I stayed close to make sure she didn’t stumble again.
We stepped out onto the balcony, and I slid the glass door shut behind us. She swayed on her feet, and I put my hand on her back to steady her. “Easy, easy.”
She’d only had two glasses of champagne, and she was already tipsy. Cute, but dangerous.
She giggled. “We’re up so high!”
“Have you been to New York before?”
“I’ve barely been anywhere,” she said. “This is amazing.”
I looked down at her as she stared at the New York skyline. She let her head rest against me. A warm summer breeze blew across my face. A giddy feeling shivered through my body. I’d only had one glass of champagne, and I weighed over two hundred pounds. I couldn’t be drunk, could I? Maybe it was the drink and the sugar from the dessert. I rarely ate it.
But I doubted that was the reason. This fluttery feeling in my chest was because of Betty.
I leaned down to kiss the top of her head and stopped myself. This wasn’t a date. This was my nanny.
About the Author Are you like me? Do you enjoy funny, contemporary romances with spicy love scenes? Because if you do …You’ve landed in the perfect place.
I’m Tina Gabor, and it’s so much fun getting to write the books I love reading. Gorgeous men and fierce, feisty, and funny women are my jam. And since there’s nothing like a love story with a dash of sun and fun … I set most of my in Southern California and Florida. I grew up in South Florida, and now I live in Southern California with my fiancee and a stray cat we named Fred.
To get special deals on new releases and updates on what your favorite book couples are doing after the story ends, go to SparksFlyRomance.com/Tina
Welcome to the book blitz for SAPPHIRE EYES, the second book in the adult romantic suspense series, The Red Club, by Aurelia Yates. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SAPPHIRE EYES (The Red Club Series #2) by Aurelia Yates
Synopsis Innocent, doe-eyed Rose is living the life in New York, interning at the largest law firm in Manhattan with a year left in law school. That is, until her parents tell her they can’t afford to continue paying her tuition. While she’s stressed over how she’ll make ends meet and finish her degree, her friend tells her a secret she’s kept hidden—that she works at a strip club with many rich, good-looking men as her customers.
Rose enters Club Red, looking only for a waitressing position, but what she finds ends up being so much more.
A large man with blond hair and the most hypnotizing sapphire-blue eyes, Blaze wants to put Rose into positions that have nothing to do with serving anything or anyone but him. And he will not stop pursuing her until he makes the darling Rose his.
Excerpt #1 Trying to gather my nerves, I walk up to the door. It’s large, and it looks to be made out of steel. I try to turn the handle, but it’s locked. I knock twice, waiting for someone to answer the door. I take in the surroundings. If it wasn’t for the flashy cars in the front of the building, it would appear to be an abandoned building.
When the door swings open, a very large man with blond hair, and the most hypnotizing blue eyes stands in the doorway. I take a step back. To say he intimidates me is an understatement.
He’s wearing a cobalt-blue dress shirt, rolled up on his forearms. The color makes his sapphire eyes shine bright. I take in his body. The rippling muscles on his arms, the strong jawline he possesses, and the tattoos that crawl up under the sleeves of his shirt and peek out of his collar. The man screams badass.
He scans me from the toe of my shoes to the top of my head, and when his eyes come back to meet mine, he gives me a wicked grin. He has to be the most breathtaking man. I have had the pleasure of sharing the same space with.
I’m barely able to get the words out. “I’m here to see Liz Black.”
His tongue darts out, licking his lips, and then his teeth slowly pull in his bottom lip. I try my best not to seem effected by his good looks, but it appears the cocky bastard notices how much he has affected me. My attention is tuned in to how long and thick his tongue is. Holy Mother Teresa, my mind is in overdrive as to what he could do with that weapon.
About the Author Aurelia writes contemporary romance and enjoys reading it just as much! She lives in Alabama with her husband, daughter and fur babies. She spends most of her time taking care of her loved ones and plotting stories. Excited to begin this new journey, she’s looking forward to sharing her stories.
Future You here, coming to offer a little advice: hang on for dear life. This summer is going to be a wild one. I know what you’re thinking: Life’s going so well! I don’t have a care in the world! Wrong. That culinary career you love so much? It’s about to go up in smoke, and your boyfriend? Yeah…he’s a goner too. If only love were as simple as, say, actually adding yourself to the lease agreement so you don’t suddenly find yourself loveless, jobless, and homeless!
Did your five-year plan include moving back in with your family and sharing a bed with your Nonna? No? Well, hate to break it to you…it’s exactly as traumatizing as it sounds.
Have you had enough? Too bad. Buckle up—it gets worse. Your new boss is a professional baseball player, and he’s hot, like really hot, but you’ll pretend not to notice because he’s a single dad and it feels wrong to ogle him in front of his innocent child. Unfortunately, he thinks you’re sexy as hell too. Unrequited love is one thing; mutual off-limits pining destined to explode in the worst of ways? What could go wrong…wrong…wrong… (That’s me fading out because you have to take it from here, kid. Good luck! Don’t screw this up for me.)
Your future (wiser) self
Author R.S. Grey
About the Author R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughter, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com
Welcome to the book blitz for MAGGIE’S MARK, the first book in the adult romantic suspense series, Ceiba Cartel, by Michelle Cornish. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
MAGGIE’S MARK (Ceiba Cartel Series #1) by Michelle Cornish
The CIA told me to hunt him down. Instead, I fell in love with him.
It’s 1987 and CIA officer Maggie Barnes has the opportunity of her life—take down Ricardo Ceiba Colombia’s most prominent drug lord.
But the more Maggie learns about Ricardo and the deeper she goes undercover, the more she sees Ricardo for who he really is. Her mission becomes an impossible choice—take down the man she loves or betray her country.
Excerpt #2 In front of them was the lush jungle, where the shooting had come from the night of the party, but Ricardo led her to the right. A six-foot wooden gate blocked their path. Ricardo pushed it open with such gusto Maggie thought it might come right off the hinges.
“Care for a swim?”
He left the gate open as he stepped closer to the pool. It was a simple lap pool—no diving board—but the turquoise water took Maggie’s breath away. Sand-colored paving stones edged up to the pool and the relaxing sounds of a water feature along the far wall threatened to overtake the piano music coming from inside.
The sun had already set by the time Maggie had arrived for dinner, but the lights around the pool were all they needed. Of course, she wasn’t planning on swimming any laps.
Ricardo unbuttoned his short-sleeved shirt, took it off, and placed it on a lounge chair nearby. Two towels were neatly folded on the chair as if he’d planned this the whole time.
She bit her lip as he pulled her close. Her whole body tingled when he kissed her neck and slowly worked his way to her lips. She closed her eyes and savored every moment. When he pulled her top over her head, she thanked God she hadn’t worn a wire. Did the bug on the balcony have enough range that the team in the apartment would hear them? She pushed the thought out of her head. At this point, she didn’t care.
Ricardo lightly caressed her shoulder, and she dragged her fingers down his jaw line, his dark five o’clock shadow rough to her touch.
As he tugged off his pants, she reached behind her back and undid her bra, shaking it off and letting it fall to the ground at the same time as Ricardo’s pants. To her surprise, he wasn’t wearing underwear.
“Ay,” said Ricardo, running a hand along her hip. She placed his hand on her breast, letting him know she wanted him to touch all of her. He trailed a finger along the side of her nipple, causing it to double in size.
She let her head fall back and stretched her arms out, and he pulled her close. The hard bulge of his erection pressed into her hip as they kissed again. Her groin throbbed, and she paused to take off her skirt. Ricardo strolled to the pool then sat on the stonework, dangling his legs in the water.
He cringed. “Wow. That’s a little cold.”
Maggie laughed. Instead of joining him at the edge of the pool, she slipped her naked body into the waist-high water and stood in front of him. She took a deep breath as her body adjusted to the cool temperature of the water, then placed her hands on his thighs. He tilted her chin upward with his fingertip and bent his head to press his lips to hers. They were full and soft, and Maggie forgot all about the cold water.
About the Author Michelle strives to write the kinds of books she enjoys reading–complicated characters, a little romance, and a lot of mystery and intrigue. Strong women in sticky situations is her specialty!
Welcome to the book blitz for SECOND TIME AROUND, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Willow Bay, by Kelly Collins. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. Between now and February 20, you can get the eBook for free!
SECOND TIME AROUND (Willow Bay Series #1) by Kelly Collins
A swoon-worthy second chance romance with all the feels.
Brie Watkins had loved two men in her life. One abandoned her at the altar twelve years ago, and the other died in the war. She is no stranger to loss, but she’s still learning how to move on. When her sick aunt asks her to come back to Willow Bay to help at the family resort, Brie says yes. After all, she’s a southern girl at heart, and a southern girl never turns her back on kin. Brie sells her beloved home, quits her job restoring historic properties, and goes back to the last place she wants to be, only to find her aunt healthy, The Brown Resort thriving, and the man who left her at the altar living next door, looking as handsome as ever. Why can’t life be fair?
Carpenter Carter Kessler left Willow Bay a dozen years ago and never looked back, but he never forgot his first love, Brie. He’s spent the rest of his life regretting his decision to leave her all those years ago. After his father’s death, he reluctantly returns to find his family’s resort a mess. But it is not a total disaster – Brie is next door and as beautiful as ever. He talks her into helping him refurbish The Kessler Resort, but first she lays out the ground rules: they aren’t friends, they’ll never be lovers, and she’ll never stop hating him. As far as Carter is concerned, it’s a start.
But as summer heats up, so does their relationship. As they peel back the layers, what will they find hiding beneath the surface? Can what they started all those years ago be restored, or are some things better left buried in the past?
Find out in The Second Time Around…
Excerpt #2 She ran to her bungalow, yelling, “I’ll beat you to the buoy, Carter Kessler. You’ll see.” She threw open her door, and it bounced off the wall and nearly coldcocked her, but she sidestepped, and it slammed shut. “Game on, Carter. You are going to regret a lot of things. The first is leaving me twelve years ago. The second is challenging me to swim to the buoy because I’m fierce. Mark my words, you will most definitely regret hiring Margot Kincaid. That girl was once the bane of my existence, and I’ll be darned if she’s going to be a bee in my bonnet now.”
Brie opened a drawer and rummaged through her things to find the teeniest, tiniest bikini she owned. If Carter thought he’d only had eyes for her in high school, let him see her in this.
He was waiting for her on the end of his dock. She strolled toward him, exaggerating the sway of her hips. Was she too thin? Probably, but that didn’t stop him from gawking at her and then glaring at the men who followed her with their eyes as she went by.
“This isn’t a nudist beach,” he said.
“I’m wearing a bathing suit.”
“I think you forgot to put it on. What you’re wearing is more like floss and Band-Aids.” He stood behind her like a wall, blocking anyone’s view. “Let’s go.” He pushed her into the water.
She came up sputtering. “Why would you do that?”
“You looked cold standing here in the nude.”
She trod water. “You’re jealous.”
“About as jealous as you are of Margot.” He dove in, and when he broke the surface, he said, “Go.”
He was a body length ahead of her before she realized the race had begun. There was little chance of her winning, but she had a feeling her competition with Carter had just started. Was it more important to win the battle or the war, and what was she fighting for?
She chased him to the buoy and back. When she reached the dock, he was there, leaning down and holding out a hand to help her up, lifting her like she weighed nothing. He wrapped her in the towel and a hug.
“Good job.” He rubbed his hands over the towel, helping dry her off, as he had all those years ago. She melted into him for a second but caught herself and stepped back. It would be so easy to fall into a time when life was easy, when summer break meant sleeping in until ten, and nights were spent sneaking kisses under the old willow tree.
He stepped aside to reveal a candlelit table. “Just to be clear, I didn’t set this up.”
Tilly was peeking around the resort’s welcome sign. “I can see the culprit. She’s about five-foot-five and makes the best apple strudel known to man.” She lifted her nose. “And if my senses haven’t misled me, I think she’s made her famous schnitzel with spätzle.”
He pulled out a chair. “Will you have dinner with me? You can hate me again tomorrow.”
She sat. “I don’t hate you, Carter.” I just can’t let myself fall in love with you again.
About the Author Like FREEBIES? Join the VIP readers at http://bit.ly/KellyCollinsFreeBook for members-only exclusives!
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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.
Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, The First Three Dates Matchmakers, by Frieda J. Downing. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS (The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1) by Frieda J. Downing
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS Series: The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1 Author:Frieda J. Downing Publisher: Pinkies High Publishing Release Date: November 22, 2022
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
Synopsis She’d rather give a mountain lion a bikini wax than mess with love again.
Been there, went viral, never going back. Hattie Montague’s life as a backcountry guide for the spoiled and famous suits her just fine, thanks. It’s the only place she feels completely safe being herself. So what if she has nightmares that she can only speak squirrel and craves pine cones for breakfast? It beats leaving yourself vulnerable to humans. Fine, all of them aren’t bad. She likes probably three, so when one needs her help, she drags herself back to civilization. If she can navigate white water rapids, she can babysit a matchmaking office for a weekend. It’s not like she’ll have to deal with people or, you know, be nice. Ew.
Alexander Greye ruined her life ten years ago. Not his proudest moment. Known as the Winter Warlocke, he’s a man born and raised to lead a country with logical precision. Yet around her, he can’t seem to think rationally. He’s never met anyone who dives into the unknown like she does or tames chaos like she can. In a world as perfectly controlled as his, that makes her irresistible and utterly dangerous. And he’s willing to risk it all to thaw his frozen heart.
It’s half past too late when he realizes his carefully laid plans to win her over covered everything except the theft of the Crown Jewels, an abandoned mine where they’d have to face their deepest fears, and the betrayal that forces them to let go.Quite literally.
Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Sassy romantic adventure, with instances of chaos, misunderstandings, and feels. Oh, and the occasional sheep. Sparks will fly, it’s gonna get awkward, and the Happily-Ever-After will be well-earned.
Excerpt Since the office doesn’t have a bathtub, I get resourceful. The closet, unfortunately, is a disaster of pillow guts and shelving covered in sheep-sized bite marks. No one would confuse me for a sheep expert, but I always thought it was goats that chewed everything to pieces. Maybe Calambity is part goat. Thankfully, the blue pillow tub is in one piece.
I carry it to the kitchenette and place it on the tile next to the sink. Once I have it situated, I pull the large plastic dustpan off the broom and place the wide bit under the faucet of the tiny sink with the narrow handle hanging off the side. When I crank the hot water, I watch the makeshift waterfall begin to fill my soon-to-be luxurious bath. I shut the curtains in Zoe’s office, then lay out the single towel I had packed. After I strip down, I test the water one more time. A quick soak to freshen up, then I’ll curl up with my pizza and catch up on some Netflix until CataXanderclysm shows.
I snort, rather pleased with myself for that one, then put some tunes on my phone. A summery, reggae sounding track fills the office. With arms overhead, I dance over to Zoe’s desk and snag the bath bomb I found earlier when I was looking for printer ink. Since Zoe said help yourself to anything, I’m doing just that. I’ll replace it tomorrow, along with everything else.
At long last, I get the thin, clingy plastic off the blue ball and, lifting it in a toast to the peace and quiet, I ease myself into the oversized bucket. If I were a tall girl, this could’ve been problematic. As it is, I have to bend my legs all the way for them to fit. It mostly works; only my knees poke out of the water. Despite that, it’s pure bliss. I drop the bright bath bomb in with a satisfying bloop. Tiny bubbles escape and an indigo cloud disperses. To my delight, it also appears to be a low-powered bubble bath. It doesn’t produce heaping mounds of fluff, but it’s enough to cover the surface with bluish white foam and fill my nose with the tantalizing fragrance of cupcakes. I close my eyes, inhale, and settle in as far as my coiled up appendages will let me. I savor the warmth and scent as they wrap around me. Since I don’t know the upbeat song playing, I make up words so I can sing along my way.
I can feel my hair still sticking up in all directions, so I tip first to one side, then the other to wet it down. However, I can’t get the middle strip, so I take a scoop of bubbles and form the remaining dry hair into a floppy fauxhawk. After that, I splash some of the scented water across my face. In the midst of one of those scrubbing sessions, the door to the office opens. Surprised, I suck in bath water and spend a solid ten seconds coughing and sputtering.
Lo-and-behold, my Personal Pain in the Stuff Sack leans against the doorjamb with his arms folded across his chest, one ankle casually crossed over the other. Too bad GQ isn’t here with cameras because Xander is cover model material in the flesh. The navy, single button suit he wears looks more expensive than most of the furniture in this office. Unfortunately, it also sets off his stormy eyes, making it practically impossible to notice anything but him.A smug grin creeps over his arrogant mug. “You look a little crazy right now.”
I scowl and hug my arms to my chest, doing my best to hide my panic. Natalie’s reminder to lock the door chooses that moment to waft through my brain, taunting me. “Why thank you. I owe it all to you. What on earth are you doing here?”
His grin grows. “I love what you’re wearing for our date.”
I hunker down deeper in the plastic storage tub and pull my knees a little tighter to my breasts. My heart’s pounding so hard it may be enough to churn more bubbles all by itself. How can he just stand there and flirt? “You act like you’ve never seen a woman having a bath before. Do us a favor and grow up.”
His lips twitch. “I’ve never seen you having a bath before. There’s a very important difference. Also, in all fairness, I’ve never seen any woman bathe in a storage bin, nor turn herself blue doing so.”
“Blue?” I glance down, then hiss. “Son of a cupcake scented bath bomb.”
Author Frieda J. Downing
About the Author Nice to meet you. I’m Frieda. I write sweet contemporary romance as well as romantic adventure.
I blame it on my childhood babysitters. For some reason they thought I shouldn’t ride our family’s buffalo. Believe me, I was just as shocked as you. Though I never did get that buffalo ride, I found plenty of other creative outlets for my adventure needs. Some were good clean fun, some got me kicked out of various and sundry events, and others ended with me getting lost in catacombs. (Not metaphorically speaking. Somewhere there’s an Austrian catacomb caretaker? guy whom I owe dinner and a large apology.)
I like to think I’ve gotten a tiny bit wiser.
I married my best friend and dove head first into the magnificent cyclone known as raising kids. I mountain bike every chance I get, lose my coffee cup daily, and bake a mean lemon merengue pie, if I do say so myself. I may indulge in shenanigans on a regular basis, but I plead the fifth every time.
I suppose it’s important to me that you know how very much I love us crazy, broken humans. We dream so big. We try so hard. Yet somehow, so often, things just go terribly, horribly wrong.
That’s where my books begin… because that’s where the real love story’s found. I hope you enjoy reading them. Most of all, I wish you adventure, joy, and more love than you knew was possible.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE ITALIAN HOLIDAY, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy by Nicole Sharp. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Struggling writer Keats McCall is Italy bound by Valentine’s Day – but it’s certainly not for amore. She needs to escape her mindless barista job, the four walls of the rented room closing in on her, and the memories of last year’s disastrous break-up. Thank the Roman gods she can pack a bag and passport and run to her sister in Florence, Italy, in the hopes of getting her life back on track.
Keats expected to spend her days meandering through the rain-soaked cobblestone streets of Florence. What she didn’t expect was Lorenzo, who smells of espresso, Italian history and self-assurance, to propel her on an unimaginable journey.
From Florence to Venice, Keats basks in a luscious exploration of Italy and Lorenzo while she tries to figure out if the escapist mindset of an Italian Holiday can duct tape her life back together.
Excerpt #2 “God, that will be romantic, won’t it? Rome with someone you love…”
It was nice to hear that a man could still surprise his girlfriend in a romantic way, that there was still love out in the universe.
Lorenzo didn’t respond to my posturing about the surprise, but his study of me took on an intensity. I wanted to lean away from his intrusive stare, but forced myself to stand my ground and keep my smile steady. After all, I had spent the last hour studying him, and I interrupted first.
He moved then, thankfully breaking the strange moment as he rummaged around in the soft briefcase at his feet. “Ah…” He turned back and produced a small velvet box, took a deep breath and then proceeded to open the box slowly, reverently. His hand was shaking just showing me the ring.
“Oh…wow,” I whispered. “It really is going to be a romantic trip.”
He looked down at the ring and his shaking hand, frowning. “I was thinking about doing it on Valentine’s Day.” He cleared his throat. “I haven’t really been able to talk to anyone about this…” he excused as we both continued to silently study the ring. He nervously cleared his throat again, then quietly asked, “Does that seem…cheesy?”
“No,” I whispered, then reached out and gently touched the ring. I couldn’t imagine a world where someone flew to a foreign country to propose to me with a gold ring that glittered and blinked. But that was the insecurity brought on by the recent breakup. Of course, I couldn’t imagine that world because my ex-asswipe hadn’t even been able to bring himself to go to the store and get my antibiotic filled when I was really sick.
“It’s beautiful,” I verified. Though how could anyone question the breathtaking beauty of the large oval diamond encircled by a halo of smaller diamonds. It was truly stunning.
“It took me two weeks to choose one,” he admitted.
“What’s your girlfriend’s name?”
I smiled and pointed to the ring. “So, it would seem that you are just as excited and anxious as I am about this trip.”
He gave a soft laugh. “I am excited,” he turned the ring toward him so he could study it at a different angle, “and anxious…” he admitted, then cleared his throat once more. “I would argue, however, that some of us are better at handling our emotions than others.”
I finally met his eyes as I exclaimed, “I can’t help it! Excitement works me up…it flips and kicks in my gut. It makes me wear my emotions on my sleeve.”
“Well–” He might have been meaning to say more when a passing flight attendant’s gasp interrupted, “Oh, oh! Did she say yes?”
I blinked up at the flight attendant and then glanced over at Lorenzo; we frowned at each other.
A woman across the aisle leaned over and when she saw the ring, added her own gasp. “I’ve never been on a flight where someone proposed.”
“Oh, no…” I started.
Lorenzo shook his head and emphatically pointed. “No no, not her.”
“Gee, thanks,” I muttered over my shoulder at him.
“No, sorry. You seem…interesting,” he tried as he closed the ring box.
I leaned across the aisle and explained to both the passenger and the flight attendant, “He’s going to propose to his girlfriend in Rome. He was just showing me the ring.”
They were evenly disappointed.
“Such a shame, you make a cute couple,” the flight attendant said, then continued down the aisle.
I gave a snort of disbelief and muttered, “You know, going to Rome to propose on Valentine’s Day is just as exciting.”
As Lorenzo put the ring back in his bag, I touched his arm and reassured, “That is beautiful. Good job. All around.”
“I feel…” He stared over the seats stretched in front of us, trying to find what he was feeling. A shake of his head, he asked once more, “Do you think it’s trite to propose on Valentine’s Day?”
“Not at all. It’s going to be perfect.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” he affirmed.
Author Nicole Sharp
About the Author Legend has it that Nicole Sharp was born to hippies during an ice storm in Stone Mountain, Georgia. While confirmation of said events cannot be agreed upon, one fact is for certain, it was a Tuesday.
By age twelve, Nicole was sure of two things: 1) She wanted to be a writer and 2) She wanted to travel. She begged her parents to allow her to voyage alone to exotic lands. They permitted her to go from California to Boise, Idaho to visit a great-grandmother.
After muddling through the college years, Nicole graduated with a Bachelors in History (think Greeks and Romans). Why didn’t she major in English if she wanted to be a writer? There were better stories in history class.
Nicole is Italian. According to Ancestry.com it’s a rather low percentage, but she feels that she is at least 51% Italian. When she returned to the homeland, she fell in love with the Italian cappuccino, so much so that she studied the language until she was fluent; thus she could order the magical elixir herself: Posso avere un cappuccino, per favore!
Nicole’s first concert was to see the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene when she was a fifteen-year-old, thanks to her parent’s bluegrass phase. However, she never admits it, and instead tells everyone that They Might Be Giants, whom she saw in college, was her real first concert.
Her first car was a yellow Chevy Celebrity and her favorite job was working as a docent in a museum in an old mining town in Colorado. She has written extensively about both.